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Recent editorials published in Iowa newspapers

August 19, 2019 GMT

Des Moines Register. August 15, 2019

When a sitting congressman sees an upside to rape and incest, sex abusers get the message

Accused rapists have long defended themselves by claiming it didn’t happen, or the victim “asked for it,” maybe by dressing too provocatively. But never, to my knowledge, has a defense rested on a claim that rape itself isn’t such a bad thing.

Rep. Steve King said as much Wednesday by suggesting that forcible sexual intercourse with women was a necessary means of perpetuating the population. Without those resulting offspring, he wondered out loud, “Would there be any population of the world left?”

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The Western Iowa Republican also appeared to defend incest. Of both paths to procreation, he said, “I know I can’t certify that I’m not a part of a product of that.”

Only King can speak to his family history or what forces in his background may have conspired to make the Fourth District congressman so misogynistic and prejudiced. But with those glib dismissals of violent, traumatic criminal acts, he sends a message to rape survivors, would-be rapists and family members who would sexually abuse a female relative. He tells them it’s OK, if it results in pregnancy and childbirth.

King made the comments to justify his support for anti-abortion legislation that would make no exceptions for rape or incest. He was denounced for the remarks by several congressional Republicans along with two of his primary challengers and the Iowa GOP spokesman. Predictably, Republican U.S. Sens. Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst didn’t go that far, though both said rape and incest are never justified.

A Republican National Committee official I contacted in Washington D.C., who asked not to be identified by name, said in an e-mail, “His comments were appalling and wrong. Steve King continues to demonstrate why House Republican leadership was right to remove him from his committee assignments.” That happened earlier this year after the New York Times reported King had questioned what was so offensive about the terms white supremacist or white nationalist.

But King has built his career on saying offensive things, whether about gays, nonwhites, Latinos or non-Western civilizations. He has asked how Western societies can perpetuate their European heritage by raising “other people’s” babies. He has compared immigrants to hunting dogs.

Democratic presidential candidate and others are now mounting calls for King to resign. But if the past is precedent, such calls just embolden him and fuel King’s fundraising efforts, which depict him as a target for being a conservative Donald Trump supporter.

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On Jan. 16, after The New York Times reported on his remarks about white supremacy and he was dislodged from House committees, King sent out a fundraising email saying, “the unhinged Left has teamed up with Republican ‘NeverTrumpers’ and is pulling out all the stops to destroy me. Since they were unable to defeat my campaign in the 2018 Midterm Elections, the rabid Leftist media is currently blasting the airwaves in a pathetic attempt to paint me as a ‘racist.’”

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Quad City Times. August 16, 2019

Talk of the Times: The future of our riverfront

The Mississippi River has always been a vital part of the Quad-Cities. This year, it’s loomed larger than ever.

For the better part of three months, the river invaded our businesses and downtowns, as well as some of our homes.

The people who live and work near the river were affected like rarely before.

As a result, we’re now seeing more substantive discussion about structural flood protection in Davenport than we’ve had in years.

We’re still in the preliminary stages, of course, and it’s anybody’s guess where it will lead. But, if nothing else, the disastrous flood has put the river and its immediate surroundings on the front burner.

Which makes it an excellent time to talk about our riverfront - what we envision it to be, how we should use and preserve it — and how we ought to deal with what many expect will be the greater frequency and intensity of future flooding.

On Thursday, we told you about a special editorial effort this newspaper is taking on this fall to generate discussion in our community about three topics: Our youth, our riverfront and our growth.

It’s the beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing series of special efforts to engage our community around issues that are important to all of us.

We hope you will share your thoughts with us; below you will find a way to do that.

We also intend to seek the opinions of people in our community who have a unique viewpoint on these issues, offering them the chance to give more expansive views on these topics.

Yesterday, we shared some of our thoughts about the challenges and opportunities facing young people and our community.

Today, we turn to the riverfront.

The Quad-Cities has always valued the space along its rivers, particularly the Mississippi — not just as a place for commerce but also to recreate and to live and gather. We don’t believe the prospect of future flooding should change that.

In truth, riverfront plans in Davenport have been formulated for years with an eye toward the threat of flooding. But our experience in 2019 has more acutely driven home the idea that what we’re doing now may not be sufficient for the future.

Many of Davenport’s neighbors have already put in place structural flood protection, which has enabled development opportunities that inject greater life into their communities.

As we all know, Davenport has taken a different route. That may change. But it may not.

So, what does that mean for RiverVision, the development plan for Davenport and Rock Island - and the public art concepts that were proposed by the Downtown Davenport Development Partnership and the Figge Art Museum earlier this year?

How might the unilateral decision by Canadian Pacific Railway to dramatically raise its tracks affect our riverfront?

We’d like to hear your thoughts.

It’s not just downtown Davenport that is on our minds, though.

The replacement of the Interstate-74 bridge is opening up up a lot of development space in Bettendorf and Moline, too, where we’re already seeing a transformation due to projects like Western Illinois University’s riverfront campus.

The Bend in East Moline is an exciting project. LeClaire also is in the early stages of a creating a new marina district.

The riverfront doesn’t just mean development, of course. Parts of the riverfront are ecologically vibrant spaces in need of preservation. They’re also a great resource for teaching.

The fact is, there are so many spaces through the Quad-Cities that draw people for a whole host of reasons. To launch a fishing boat, to gather for a concert (like in Schwiebert Park) or to take a bike ride along the recreational trails that line both sides of the Mississippi

We’d like to hear your thoughts about these places, as well as those we haven’t mentioned.

To weigh in on our riverfront, along with your thoughts about our youth and our growth, please submit your ideas to opinions@qctimes.com, or to Editorial Page Editor, Quad-City Times, 500 E. 3rd St., Davenport, Iowa, 52801. Please keep your thoughts to 250 words or less. Even if you only have a brief opinion, jot it down and fire it off to us.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Fort Dodge Messenger. August 16, 2019

Boone forks Region is a natural wonder

There are some wonderful outdoor surprises awaiting anyone who thinks Iowa is just acre after acre of corn and soybean fields.

Right here in the Fort Dodge region there are two scenic rivers. The Des Moines River flows through Webster County while the Boone River flows through Hamilton County.

Than there are the area parks that offers forests for shade, trails to explore and places to enjoy a picnic. Chief among those parks are Dolliver Memorial State Park and Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, both in Webster County, and Briggs Woods Recreation Area in Hamilton County. Dolliver Memorial State Park, named after former U.S. Sen. Jonathon Dolliver and built by the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps, offers a dose of history along with the natural beauty.

For those who like a little motorized recreation, there’s Gypsum City Off-Highway Vehicle Park in Webster County, which has trails for ATVs and dirt bikes, along with camping spots.

In 2010, the state Department of Cultural Affairs recognized the recreational and cultural assets of Hamilton and Webster counties by adding them to the Iowa Great Places program. The two counties came together as the Boone Forks Region to enter the the program.

Boone County was subsequently added to the program.

Recently, the state agency re-desiginated the Boone Forks Region as an Iowa Great Place.

The practical result of that listing is eligibility for grants to promote and enhance the Boone Forks Region. The district previously received a $90,000 grant that paid for signs at the various parks and gateway entrances to other areas.

Local officials are now focusing on marketing the wonders of the Boone Forks Region to the rest of the state and nation.

Being named to the Iowa Great Places program again has brought a measure of prestige to the area. Local residents should be proud.

Area residents should also help to take care of the natural wonders that earned the area that desigination. That means, among other things, picking up litter and being careful with campfires.

Together, we can make the Boone Forks Region a treasure for generations to come.

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